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Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY HERALDS THE HOLIDAYS
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 02, 2018
Antlers are typical headgear during the holiday season, but the ushers and one bassist at the Santa Rosa Symphony concert on Dec. 2 sported apples atop their heads. The red fruits were festive but perplexing until the orchestra began Rossini’s “William Tell” overture, at which point even the dull-wi...
Symphony
A HERO'S ODYSSEY IN SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Art Hofmann
Sunday, November 18, 2018
The audience at the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Nov. 18 concert was warned at the outset that the old Santa Rosa High School auditorium boiler was turned off, and there was a steady eminently audible tone in the hall. Conductor Norman Gamboa said the tone was an A, a high one. But there it was, a...
Recital
MTA BENEFIT CONCERT FEATURES FAURE, DVORAK, JANACEK AND BARBER WORKS
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 11, 2018
In a splendid concert Nov. 11 the Music Teachers Association of California, Sonoma County Chapter, presented their sixth annual benefit concert before 40 avid listeners in the Santa Rosa home of Helen Howard and Robert Yeats. Highlights of the performances, involving eight musicians in various perf...
Recital
SERKIN'S SINGULAR MOZART AND BACH PLAYING IN WEILL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 09, 2018
Returning to Weill Hall following a fire-related recital cancellation in 2017, pianist Peter Serkin programmed just three works in his Nov. 7 concert, three masterworks that challenged both artist and audience alike. It needs to be said at the outset that Mr. Serkin takes a decidedly non-standard a...
Chamber
LUMINOUS FAURE TOPS LINCOLN TRIO'S SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
Familiarity in chamber music often evokes warm appreciation, and it was thus Nov. 7 when the Chicago-based Lincoln Piano Trio made one of their many Sonoma County appearances, this time on the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series. Regularly presented by local impresario Robert Hayden, the Lin...
Symphony
PEACE AND LOVE FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 04, 2018
Before the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 4 performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story,” Symphony CEO Alan Silow took a moment to acknowledge the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue attack and to observe that music offers a more peaceful and loving view of the world. Mr. ...
Chamber
ATOS TRIO IN MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 04, 2018
When the ATOS Piano Trio planned their all-Russian touring program at their Berlin home base, it had a strong elegiac, even tragic theme that surely resonated with their Mill Valley Chamber Music Society audience Nov. 4 in Mill Valley. Comprised of Annette von Hehn, violin; Thomas Hoppe, piano; and...
Chamber
ATOS TRIO IN OCCIDENTAL CHAMBER CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 03, 2018
When the Berlin-based ATOS Piano Trio entered the cramped Occidental Performing Arts stage Nov. 3, the audience of 100 anticipated familiar works in the announced all-Russian program. What they got was a selection of rarely-plays trios, with a gamut of emotions. Then one-movement Rachmaninoff G Mi...
Symphony
MIGHTY SHOSTAKOVICH 10TH OPENS MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 28, 2018
Just two works were on the opening program of the Marin Symphony’s 67th season Oct. 28, Tchaikovsky’s iconic D Major Violin Concerto, and Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony. Before a full house in the Marin Center Auditorium conductor Alasdair Neale set a judicious opening tempo in the brief orchestra i...
Symphony
VIVALDI FOR ALL SEASONS IN WEILL BAROQUE CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, October 27, 2018
The Venice Baroque Orchestra, a dozen superb musicians that include strings, harpsichord and recorder, played an uplifting concert Oct. 27 of mostly Vivaldi sinfonias and concertos. The Weill Hall audience of 600 had rapt attention throughout, and the playing was of the highest musical level. This r...
SYMPHONY REVIEW
Venice Baroque Orchestra / Saturday, October 27, 2018
Anna Fusek (recorder), Massimo Raccanelli Zaborra (cello) and Giampiero Zanocco (violin), soloists

Recorder Player Anna Fusek

VIVALDI FOR ALL SEASONS IN WEILL BAROQUE CONCERT

by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Venice Baroque Orchestra, a dozen superb musicians that include strings, harpsichord and recorder, played an uplifting concert Oct. 27 of mostly Vivaldi sinfonias and concertos. The Weill Hall audience of 600 had rapt attention throughout, and the playing was of the highest musical level. This renowned period instrument ensemble, elegantly clad in black and always standing, took a journey to early 18th century Venice through Vivaldi’s music.

The Sinfonia in G commenced the evening with a first a burst of energy, then lyrical lines juxtaposed with leaps and trills, clear unisons and phrases always subtly shaped and shaded. This joyous mood was followed by a plaintive movement, almost sad and resigned which in turn led to a jolly folk dance movement full of flourishes and surprising twists.

The next piece was one of the numerous Vivaldi concertos, this one a double concerto in d minor for violin (Gianpiero Zanocco) and recorder player Anna Fusek. Sections of allegro were followed by largos with many contrasting themes and echoes. The dissonances were exquisite as always in Vivaldi’s compositions. Pulsing basses phrases made sweeping statements, and the soloists interacted with great charm and at times the violin and recorder evoked a human voice and an angelic responding song. This composition was followed by wild applause. The E Minor Concerto for violin, strings and basso continuo started in a dark mood with a sighing half step motive moving into agitated tremolos and feats of virtuosic violin solo playing with occasional startling spiccato passages. The largo movement contrasted intimate and fragile moments with emphatic statements and the final allegro featured Mr. Zanocco’s dazzling solo violin playing, phrased with ease and humor.

Vivaldi’s music is full of his expected compositional techniques: imitations, echoes, tremolos, fast passages with contrasting calm sections, dramatic gestures, and at the same time intimate tenderness. The music is both predictable and spontaneous, easy to listen to and also startling and intriguing.

In the B Flat Violin-Cello Concerto (RV 547) gave off fireworks in the orchestra and arpeggios in profusion. The andante was pastoral and delicately sweet, featuring a chamber music size ensemble. Then off to a galloping hunt with exciting fast cello passages from Massimo Raccanelli becoming at times like the sound of fluttering bird wings.

The first half of the concert concluded with enthusiastic ovations from the audience, and following intermission the orchestra presented Sinfonia in C (RV 717) from the opera Il Giustino, and then the Concerto in A Minor for cello, played as a last minute substitution by Mr. Raccanelli. The ensemble was impeccable. The cellist alternated passages of dizzying speed with a lovely slow movement full of subtle rubatos and expressiveness, leading to the last movement using stark staccatos, buzzing effects and a unison pizzicato ending.

Corelli’s La Follia was the theme for Geminiani’s Concerto Grosso, in D Minor (H. 143). The many short variation movements had a rich textured sound, with much virtuoso playing and a delightful amount of humor.

These elements of humor and color reached a climax in the Concerto in D Major for recorder (“Il Gardellino” - The Goldfinch), RV 428. Often played by a flute, Ms. Fusek created pure magic on her instrument as she trilled and warbled, chirped and soared, interacting with her colleagues and the audience in an unforgettable performance. The audience gave a standing ovation, gratefully acknowledging this exceptional concert.

Two encores were offered. The first was an arrangement of Gershwin’s Rhasody in Blue with featuring Ms. Fusek, and it was a humorous escapade. The entire ensemble returned with the presto “Summer” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. The many tremolos were played with precision and beauty.

Nicki Bell contributed to this review